Mets Game 31: Win Over Giants
Mets 5 Giants 2
On Cinco de Mayo, the Mets were able to party up after an afternoon victory. Pass the sangria, please.
Mets Game Notes
On paper, Mike Pelfrey pitched a great game. He allowed only one earned run on 4 hits and 2 walks through 7 2/3 innings. However, he struggled mightily with his command and confidence from innings four through six, and I wonder if this win was more a function of Pelfrey’s performance or the Giants’ offensive ineptitude.
Through the first three innings, Mike Pelfrey was doing that hunch-over thing on occasion, but he was able to correct it as he came out of the left lift and into the stride. Additionally, it looked to me like he was keeping his front shoulder more square to the plate during the leg lift — in other words, not over-rotating (which is a good thing). By starting out this way, he had good balance and good control of his body, which resulted in a consistent and controlled release point — and strikes low in the zone. At some point in the fourth, his mechanics broke down somewhat, and his pitches started going high in the zone; Mike Fontenot took advantage by putting one of them into the right field seats. His mechanical issues — and in particular that hunching over problem — became progressively worse in the fifth and into the sixth.
When Pelfrey came to bat in the bottom of the 6th, I was surprised. He struggled to get through the top of the inning, and I thought for sure he’d be lifted for a pinch-hitter. Then when he took the mound in the 7th, his body language and facial expression was completely different compared to the previous three innings: he was brimming with confidence and looked a little gleeful. His mechanics were still off and on, but when an athlete is confident he can overcome quite a bit. Good to see that from Big Pelf — let’s hope to see more of it going forward.
Interesting: after Pelfrey came out of the game (and after I wrote all the hot air above) and spoke with Kevin Burkhardt, he mentioned that he felt like he was doing a good job of “staying on line”. That’s pretty much what I was talking about regarding keeping his front shoulder square at the leg lift, and also relates to the hunch-over. When he hunches, he tends to over-correct himself by opening up a bit too early, and when combined with a slight shoulder turn, it can force his body “off line” — when his follow-through sends him toward first base, it’s because of one or both of these issues.
Jonathan Sanchez was similar to Pelfrey in that he had trouble keeping consistent mechanics throughout the ballgame. Sanchez reminds me a bit of a young Ollie Perez, in that he can really go Jekyll and Hyde from inning to inning — and seemingly have zero ability to throw a strike during those Hyde moments.
Jonathan Sanchez looks so hopeless attempting to bunt he should be ashamed. He made two feeble attempts in the top of the third before finally dropping one in fair territory — and then he didn’t even run, resulting in an easy double play. It appeared as though he made contact on accident, and then wasn’t interested in running to first. That’s completely unacceptable. I don’t care if he was pitching a no-hitter, if I’m the manager I’m pulling him out of the game. Just because he is a pitcher is no excuse to make a half-hearted attempt to bunt and no excuse to hang around the batter’s box instead of running to first base.
Ironically, Sanchez later hit a RBI single up the middle. It was a truly ugly swing, but it did the job.
During the SNY broadcast, Kevin Burkhardt mentioned that Mets bullpen coach Jon DeBus noticed that Josh Thole had a “setup issue” where his weight “too far back on his heels” making it difficult for him to block pitches in the dirt. Strangely enough, I’ve seen the exact opposite from Thole — he usually has his weight too far ahead, and over the balls of his feet, in his stance. But maybe DeBus meant that Thole was so far up on the balls of his feet, he needed to shift it back on his heels to catch the ball. What a catcher wants to do in his stance is keep the weight evenly distributed in the middle of his foot, along the instep. If anything, you are better off being slightly too far back toward the heels in your stance than too far ahead, because it’s easier to keep your balance by correcting yourself moving forward than it is moving backward. I hope that makes sense; it’s easier to illustrate in person.
In the top of the 8th, Emmanuel Burriss attempted to steal second with two outs and down three runs. Ronny Paulino threw him out with great throw. First, what the heck is Burriss doing running in that situation? His team is down three runs; a steal there doesn’t really help much. In a one-run game, OK. Second, how is Burriss EVER thrown out? The guy has lightning speed, so he must be awful at reading pitchers and getting good jumps. Paulino threw him out on a ball four pitch earlier in the game as well.
Francisco Rodriguez finished his 9th game and collected his 7th save, though not easily. He walked the leadoff batter and went full-count to the next batter, walked the next, then went full-count to Cody Ross before Ross hit a blooper to load the bases with one out. Leave it to K-Rod to keep things interesting.
K-Rod, by the way, threw 42 pitches in his outing, so not sure if he’ll be available again before Sunday.
Next Mets Game
The Mets host a weekend series vs. the Dodgers beginning at 7:10 PM on Friday night. Jonathon Niese goes to the hill against Hiroki Kuroda.